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“Emotion over perfection”

by Darcy Rhyno

Singer songwriter Caroline Savoie is just 24 years old, but she’s already achieved international acclaim. The Dieppe, NB native first came to public attention in 2014 when she was invited to appear on France’s version of the popular TV show, The Voice. The following year, she won the Granby International Song Festival in Quebec and her song Y’en aura won SOCAN song of the festival. Her 2016 self-titled album was produced by 10-time Grammy Award winner Jay Newland (who has recorded Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and Etta James). She’s now touring for her 2019 release “Pourchasser l’aube” (“Chasing Dawn”). Saltscapes spoke with Caroline Savoie about her first guitar, Led Zeppelin and crying in
the bathroom. 

What was it like growing up in Dieppe?

We had a very happy childhood because we were surrounded by kids. I was always playing outside. The kids from the neighbourhood would be at my house after school to play kick-the-can or dodge ball. 

Were family members influential in your musical development?

My grandfather gave me my first guitar. He used to have a guitar collection, but he has arthritis and can’t play anymore. He gave one to each of his grandchildren. The first songs I wrote were on that guitar. 

What about your parents?

My dad can’t sing to save his life. But he really loves all sorts of music. I grew up listening to Edith Piaf and Led Zeppelin. I remember learning “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin. 

What was your first performance?

I used to play ringette. At the end of the year team party my dad said, “Carolyn plays guitar and sings.” I was really shy about it at the time, but I grabbed the guitar and played a song. My dad thought it would be funny, but he cried. He was really touched. He has been my manager ever since. 

What’s it like to have your dad as manager? 

I could never continue my career with someone else. I need my dad because he knows me better than anyone, both as a person and a musician. It’s hard in this industry to find someone you trust 100 per cent. 

How did you end up on France’s version of The Voice?

They recruited me on YouTube. I would learn a cover song and every Sunday post it on YouTube. 

What did that mean to your career?

I met the producer of my first album, Jay Newland. I never thought this girl from New Brunswick would go to New York and record albums. It was surreal being surrounded by session musicians who were so welcoming, genuine and humble and super happy to work on the project. I was so grateful for this amazing experience, I had to go to the bathroom just to cry. 

What did you learn from Newland?

I remember him telling me not to be too perfectionist. I tend to be perfectionist in every aspect of life, not just the music. He was all about emotion over perfection. He said it’s better to feel something when you listen to music. 

What do your songs tend to be about?

I’ve always written like I’m writing in a diary. I’ve never been so good dealing with emotions, so I put them in a song, sing it and it would be over. I always wrote from the heart. As long as my songs stay honest and true to who I am, that’s what counts. 

What do you think is universal about a good song?

There’s something that happens when you listen to a song. It takes you back to a particular moment or feeling. You can find yourself in the lyrics or melodies. That’s why I write with honesty because some may feel the same way I felt at a certain time. They can listen to it and not feel alone. 

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